Headcount: Meet My Shareholders?

Whew! Headcount survived another football watching weekend and, thankfully, we resisted the urge to rush to the theater to see "Kangaroo Jack." (It wasn't difficult, believe us.) We did, however, get sucked in to the NBC show "Meet My Folks."

The show, in which eight women compete for a chance to go to Europe with some cross-eyed guy with protective parents, gave us an idea. In one part of the show, the women are treated to a surprise visit from their ex-boyfriends, who spin stories of infidelity and general weirdness. The stories are meant to make the women look evil, but, once in a while, they make some of the contestants seem more interesting. (And, no, I won't elaborate.)

Here's our idea: Just as a telecom executive is about to be hired at a new company, the board of directors should arrange a "surprise visit" from all the employees and shareholders that executive may have shafted along the way. Can you imagine the stories? Okay, forget the stories. Can you imagine how large a room would be needed for some of these guys? Just a thought.

Anyway, we'll put down the remote long enough to review some of the past week's most interesting hirings and firings:

  • Next-generation Class 5 switch maker Taqua Systems Inc. closed a $20 million funding round recently, giving it more than $140 million raised to date. The round was led by RRE Ventures, and RRE general partner Rich McGinn has taken a seat on Taqua's board. Yes, that Rich McGinn (see Rich McGinn).

    Are you still thinking of our TV show idea? Large rooms, right? Maybe even stadiums, in some cases.

  • Tahoe Networks has cut its headcount from 118 to 100, according to board member Dennis Barsema. But things aren't stopping there, he says. Soon the wireless infrastructure vendor will hire two new sales people -- one for Europe and one for Asia -- to increase its chances of winning overseas business. Barsema took the helm at Tahoe at the beginning of this year (see Barsema to Leave Onetta).

  • AcceLight Networks Inc. closed its doors for good last Friday and sent its last 60 employees home, according to industry sources. Word is that in the end, the company's photonic switch fabric didn't work as advertised; and the company even tried to replace it with an electrical fabric in a last-ditch attempt to raise more money and keep potential customers interested. The company's managers did not return phone calls. Short of an official casket viewing and ceremony, several Light Readers have already started chiseling AcceLight's tombstone.

  • LaserSharp Corp., a maker of Raman amplifiers, has closed, according to a source close to the startup. The company was founded in May 2000 by fiber laser expert Hong Po and it was funded by Optical Capital Group and The Grosvenor Funds. It's not clear how many were employed by LaserSharp nor is it clear what will happen to the company's technology after closure. LaserSharp executives couldn't be reached for comment.

  • Headcount sources are saying that Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV) has cut 20 heads from its Dorsal Networks unit, which it acquired in January 2002. Last year, Corvis said it was cutting about 164 employees from the business unit formed when it acquired Algety Telecom back in May 2000 (see Corvis Takes Huge Loss, Cuts Jobs). When asked to comment on the Dorsal cuts, Corvis declined because of a self-imposed "quiet period" prior to its February 6 earnings call. This will be followed by a juice-and-cookies break.

  • Force10 Networks Inc. has boosted its headcount to 225, compared to about 200 a year ago, and it's still slowly adding staff. "We're building out our sales force," says Steve Mullaney, vice president of marketing for Force10. "We've doubled it since October, and we're still looking for more people."

    Mullaney also hinted that Force10 is about to close a third round of funding. Last week, the company dropped its prices for 10-Gbit/s Ethernet gear by 44 percent (see Force10 Slashes 10-GigE Pricing).

  • Xebeo Communications Inc. CEO Michael Skarzynski (Scrabble score: 15,000) told VentureWire that the Ethernet switching startup is in the process of raising a third funding round. He also says Xebeo is shopping itself to several public companies. Headcount wishes Mr. Szqwsfxski (whatever) well, but wonders: Aren't all telecom equipment startups shopping themselves to public companies these days?

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments (and disappointments) from the past several days: Got any better ideas for a reality TV series in the telecom world? If so, share them here, and maybe we'll all get our 15 minutes of fame someday.

    Meanwhile, if we missed any big hirings, firings, or other tidbits, send a tip to [email protected]. If you send a tip that leads to a published item in Headcount, we'll send you a Light Reading T-shirt to wear to your new job.

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading
  • lr_fan 12/5/2012 | 12:49:51 AM
    re: Headcount: Meet My Shareholders? How about Atoga? Last news was that they were near death. Can someone please verify!
    vomonquan 12/5/2012 | 12:49:51 AM
    re: Headcount: Meet My Shareholders? Very quiet. Their web site doesn't have any news since 2002. WHat is going on Headcount?
    USA 12/5/2012 | 12:49:48 AM
    re: Headcount: Meet My Shareholders? I heard that Atoga was down to about 30 people and trying to hang on.
    gea 12/5/2012 | 12:49:44 AM
    re: Headcount: Meet My Shareholders? Seems to me, with $140 million, Taqua doesn't actually need any customers, as they seem quite good at simply raising funds.

    I suggest, therefore, that they just "keep on keepin' on" and continue raising more funds, and eventually go public. Don't bother with customers, and keep the product as simple as possible, so that R&D costs will stay low.
    Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 12:49:43 AM
    re: Headcount: Meet My Shareholders? For a company that allegedly has $140M they sure have an ugly Web site.

    sorry, I couldn't resist.
    pooh-bear 12/5/2012 | 12:49:37 AM
    re: Headcount: Meet My Shareholders? I hear that Cisco is marching people out this week and last. A technical writing group got cut by 33% last week.

    Any other reports?
    optical_guy 12/5/2012 | 12:49:36 AM
    re: Headcount: Meet My Shareholders? This sounds like the Corvis business strategy...except for keeping the R&D costs down.

    On the subject of Corvis, have you noticed how really, really difficult it is to distinguish the difference between their "self-imposed quiet period" and their noisy periods.

    Oh well, a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse (which really means nothing but I like the sound of it).

    WiserNow 12/5/2012 | 12:49:27 AM
    re: Headcount: Meet My Shareholders? Gea,
    Now that Taqua have Rich McGinn they do. He will go through the $140 pretty quick!
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